Friday, March 31, 2006

We've Met The Enemy

Last week I told you about a recent seminar I gave in Pennsylvania, and how I saw people were the same everywhere, with the same needs and same struggles!

Out of 65 people, everyone raised their hand when I asked who’d tried a diet and failed. When I asked about two, three, four, or five diets, some still had their hands up. Five different diets!

We do it too. We’re so desperate that we try everything: Lo Fat, No Fat, Lo Carb, No Starch, No Sense, and more. But then we go right back to business as usual. It’s not the diet. To coin an old phrase, we have met the enemy and he is …us!

No diet works if we won’t. And the best diet? It’s no diet. It’s about eating right most of the time, and avoiding the things you know are bad for you. It’s about not over-eating, and in some cases not under-eating. It’s about getting moving and using the muscles that God gave us. It’s about taking your head out of the sand.

It’s about making decisions and sticking with them. Diets fail because people fail. When people get results, it’s really not the diet, it’s that they get off the junk, and start eating right.

We want to think it works though, because if it fails—and it usually will, then it’s not our fault—it was the diet. It was too tough, or too restrictive. We transfer blame to the diet, or system—anywhere but ourselves.

What we really need is some gumption. To stick with it. To not quit. To get back up and keep going. So it takes a year, or even two, to get back in shape. So what? Don’t quit just because it’s not fast enough to suit you. Or because you happened to slip up.

It’s kind of like marriage. The rate of divorce is what—50%? How can we expect success when we won’t invest ourselves in it? We’re too willing to walk away. We lack commitment. It’s the same thing with getting moving, and learning how to eat right.

It’s kind of ironic, because we’re so desperate to change—but we don’t. It’s biblical. The things we know to do we don’t, and the things we shouldn’t do—we do. We need some help with this thing.

The first step is to acknowledge our weakness. I’ll start. I really like Oreo’s. My first memory in life is sitting on top of the stairs at age 4, eating Oreos while my parents moved into our new house. I figure it was a convenient way to keep me out of the way.

Think about it. My earliest memory—cookies! Later, in school, as a pretty sick asthmatic, I became pretty much an outsider. No sports, no gym class—and no friends. All I had was my music, and snacks at home. No wonder I love sweet crunchy things. They filled the void. And no wonder I’m so into exercise and physical things now—I’m compensating like crazy for all those years before.

What are you struggling with? Where do you fall short? Is there a reason why you do the things you do? Spend some time and think about it. Pray about it, even. Get some real help. And get started!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hungry for Better Health!

I just got back from a Bodies-in-Balance Seminar in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. It was great—I taught a Kickboxing class for the Motion & Devotion ministry at a church over there, and then spoke an hour on dieting. Over 65 people were kicking and punching, and learning how to get in shape—and they were looking for answers too.

You know what really struck me? It was how hungry people are for better health, no matter where I go. I happened to be in Shrewsbury, PA (where?) but they’re just like us here. They’re all fighting to get their bodies back, too.

We covered the basics first. Like making sure you hit your minimum to make sure your metabolism doesn’t drag you down. For the average woman 5’2 and up, it’s about 1300-1400 calories. Petite women can get away with 1200-1300, and taller women 5’8 and up have to eat even more—just to hit their minimum. For men, it’s around 1800 calories.

To lose weight, the average woman needs to have a target around 1650 calories—for men, it’s about 2400 calories. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t eat enough!

We also talked about eating 3 smaller meals, and 2-3 snacks, and what a balanced meal looks like. We need a serving of Protein about the size of the palm of our hand. This can come from lean meat, fish, chicken, or a cup of a low-fat dairy product.

We need ONE high quality Starch—instead of all the junk we normally eat. Finally, we need to eat way more Fruits & Greens—to get all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help us feel better.
I also told them to choose low fat dairy products, dressings, etc… and then take an Omega-3 supplement daily (fish oil). Did you know that Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties, and is a brain food too? Kids have even gotten off Ritalin after their parents started giving them Omega-3.

We talked about drinking way more water—at least 3-4 20 oz bottles a day. Maybe 5-6 if you’re bigger, or very active. If we’re too acidic, we can have all kinds of problems, and water brings us back in balance.

Finally, we talked about staying active every day—we eat every day; what makes us think we don’t have to be active every day? They understood all that (it’s not rocket science—and I’m no rocket scientist either). During the question and answer session, though, it became clear that their struggles went deeper.

“We’ve been doing some of those things, but we just stopped.” Or, “I just can’t quit eating those _____ (fill in the blank).”People truly are the same everywhere, with the same needs, and same struggles. Next week, I’ll tell you about some of the issues that came up, and we’ll look at why diets fail. Until then, get off the junk, and get off the couch, too!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

How to Shop, Part 2

So you’re grocery shopping. Doing fine until you run across that Twinkie display. Or that Dorito’s display. They put those things right there where you can’t possibly escape them.

What do you do? Most people surrender and put them in the cart. Remember, over half of all Americans are overweight. We’re doing something wrong. Could it be it’s how we shop?

Have you ever seen a magazine ad for a hamburger, and you actually smelled it? You can even taste it. I mean, they’re full size. You can almost reach out and grab it off the page and eat it.

Of course that’s the point. They spend millions on advertising to get us to do just that. But what if we drew the line in the sand right there? What if we had the willpower to say no? When we see that box with the huge picture on it, and we can almost taste it we still said no. Not today! Not now. Today I’m gonna pass.

That’s what you need to do. There’s not a single thing you get that you don’t know if it’s good for you or not. You know if it’s good, and you know if it’s bad. There are no excuses. That’s where you have to make your stand.

If you don’t have it in your kitchen, you can’t eat it. You’re probably not going to get in your car and run out to the store at night just to get a box of cookies. It’s too much trouble. But if they’re on the shelf right there, you just might eat them all.

The first thing is to never shop when you’re hungry. Always shop after you’ve eaten. Then you’re full, satisfied, and can resist a little temptation. The second thing is to have a plan when you go to the store. Make a list.

Start in the produce section and fill up your cart with the good stuff for your salads. Get some fresh fruits for snacks and breakfast. Then get your whole grain breads and low fat dairy. Yogurts, cottage cheese, skim milk or 2%. Stay out of the cookie aisle. Say a prayer when you walk by that special end cap display!

Think in terms of meals when you’re shopping. Buy some chicken and meat for protein. Or some frozen fish for broiling or baking. Pick up some sweet potatoes, baked beans or whole wheat pasta for starch. Get some frozen vegetables for your greens, but watch out for those sauces. Make sure the package says zero Trans Fats.

If you want to have something sweet for dessert, or a snack, plan for it. Pick some healthy substitutes. Maybe some low cal frozen yogurt with fresh cut strawberries. Or slice up some apples with some peanut butter. Have some mixed nuts. Make some healthy muffins. Just think a little bit before you shop.

Start making some better choices, so you can look and feel better. Don’t surrender in the store. And next time you see that one thing that drives you wild—just turn and walk away!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

How to Eat Right, Part 2

Previously, I gave you some examples for breakfast, lunch and supper. If you remember, each meal should have Protein—for building muscle and bone; Starch—for long lasting energy to get through your day; and Fruits or Greens—for quick energy, and lots of vitamins and minerals. If you can just grab hold of this idea, it can change your life.

Unfortunately, old habits are hard to break. People tell me all the time they’re just too busy to do it. Instead, they do frozen dinners, fast foods, and often, miss meals—especially breakfast. Let me say this loud and clear: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”

They call it break-fast, because you’ve been fasting all night. You’re starting the morning with nothing in your system—it’s all been used or stored as fat! You need to get the engine going, so make a point to start eating breakfast. One study showed that women who started eating breakfast, started losing weight, without doing anything else!

You see, each of us has so many calories we can eat that are basically “free”. You’ll burn it. For most women, it’s more than they’re eating now. Unless you’re a very petite lady (under 5’), you’re going to need a minimum of around 1300-1400 calories just to hit your minimum—to keep all your systems operating well.

If you don’t get your minimum in, your metabolism slows down to a crawl, making it very hard to lose fat. It’s kind of ironic—sometimes you have to eat more to lose weight! This can be true for guys too, but usually their problem is overeating—meals that are too big, and too much junk food. Nine out of ten women though, aren’t eating enough! Some know it; but some still think they’re eating too much.

You’ve got to start eating healthier breakfasts. Get up 5 minutes earlier, and cook a bowl of oatmeal with a banana, and have a glass of skim milk. You’ll have protein, starch, and fruit—a much better start to your day. Have a snack mid-morning, too. Some yogurt and fruit, or apple slices with some peanut butter.

For lunch, have something healthy. If you have to eat out, get the chicken salad, or a 6” sub, loaded with vegetables on whole wheat, or honey oat. Have another snack in the afternoon—maybe a meal replacement shack (lots of protein!), or a protein bar.

Have a great home cooked meal for supper. Have a Protein serving about the size of your hand. Have one Starch, and load up on the greens—a large salad with low fat dressing, or some fresh or frozen vegetables!

You might have to change your shopping habits, but it will be well worth it—you’ll start feeling better, and have more energy for your workouts, too! Next week, I’ll give you some examples of quality Proteins, Starches, and Fruits & Greens to choose from. You can do it. Make a decision!

How to Eat Right, Part 1

I heard a report on the news the other day about car seats getting larger to accommodate our growing population! On the bookshelf in our local superstore there were 3 different calorie counting books, 4 diet books, and 3 exercise books—all best sellers. With that much attention to diet and exercise, you’d think they’d be putting smaller seats in cars!

Today I was counseling a woman who wants to drop 20-25 pounds. She started her day with a large cappuccino for breakfast. Lunch was a fast food chicken sandwich, with several lemon drops for a snack. Finally, supper was a 6” sub on wheat (actually, not a bad choice). Now there’s nothing wrong with a cup of coffee to start your day, but for breakfast?

Clearly, she needs to make better choices. Every meal should have a source of Protein, a Starch, and some Fruits or Greens. Here’s how she could change things and feel a whole lot better, right away:

1. A serving of Oatmeal or Quality Whole Grain Cereal (1 cup)
2. Glass of Lowfat Milk (8 oz)
3. A Banana (medium)

The banana is a simple carb—for quick energy to get going. The oatmeal is a high quality complex (long burning) carb—so she’ll have energy for a few hours. Both have lots of vitamins and minerals, so she’ll feel better! Finally, the lowfat milk is a good source of protein—for building muscle and bone.

1. 6” chicken (or other meat) sub on whole grain bread
2. Load it with lots of vegetables
3. Have a few chips if you like (buy the small bag)

The chicken is the protein—for building muscle and bone. The bread is the starch—for long lasting fuel for the afternoon, and the veggies are your fruits and greens—for some fiber and lots of vitamins & minerals.

1. Home made Meatloaf (3-4 oz women, 5-6 oz men)
2. 1/2 of a baked Sweet Potato
3. A Large Salad with lots of veggies: Lettuce, Spinach greens, tomato, cucumber, carrots, purple onion, green peppers, olives, and low fat dressing.

The meatloaf is the protein—for building muscle & bone. The 1/2 baked sweet potato is the starch—for fuel, and the salad is full of lots of vitamins & minerals—for your body. See the pattern?

You’d be stunned at how much you can eat when you’re eating the right things. And snacks? Try an apple sliced up with peanut butter, or some cottage cheese & fruit, or mixed nuts & raisins. Or even some frozen yogurt with some strawberries! Enjoy!